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  • Earplugs… A Love-Hate Relationship (Part 2: Where, When, and Why)

    Earplugs… A Love-Hate Relationship (Part 2: Where, When, and Why)

    Photo by Quinn Dombrowski In Part 1 of this series, we looked at two different types of earplugs, the over-the-counter ones as well as the custom molded ones, and some of the benefits of each. Now, let’s think about when to use them and how to get comfortable playing with them in. Before we jump... »

  • Controlling Rhythm and Expressing it Musically

    Controlling Rhythm and Expressing it Musically

    Q: This week’s column was written in part from a response to a FaceBook question I had about controlling rhythm and expressing it musically. I was also asked about my approach with my right hand, and where it came from with regard to rhythm and how I use it in my lines. I took that... »

  • Bass Harmonics: Middle of the String Harmonics

    Bass Harmonics: Middle of the String Harmonics

    We’ve found where the most common harmonics are at the end of the fingerboard, and also toward the nut. Today, let’s find the most common harmonics in the middle part of the string. In the examples below, the lower staff tells us where to put place our fingers and find the harmonic. The upper staff... »

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  • Playing Bass: To Right a Left or Leave It Right

    Playing Bass: To Right a Left or Leave It Right

    Q: I have been playing right-handed ever since I started playing bass, even though I am a left-handed person. Recently though, I have noticed (by messing around) that when I switch the bass around, I can pull off previously difficult techniques a lot better with my left hand, right off the bat. I am considering... »

  • Earplugs… A Love-Hate Relationship (Part 1: Options)

    Earplugs… A Love-Hate Relationship (Part 1: Options)

    Ever rush out of the house in the morning and forget something that you always have with you? Your watch, perhaps? Or maybe your reading glasses? As soon as you realize that you’ll have to go all day without this beloved item, you start to feel uncomfortable, annoyed, and metaphorically naked. It is a truly... »

  • Boutique Basses: Are They Worth It?

    Boutique Basses: Are They Worth It?

    Q: I see so many people spending thousands of dollars on handmade basses, but so many of the recordings I listen to are recorded using a standard P or J bass. What is it about these high end basses that is so “worth it” to so many? A: There are so many possible answers to... »

  • Lower Position Harmonics

    Lower Position Harmonics

    Last time we found some of the most common harmonics as they are played at the end of the fingerboard. Since the placement of harmonics on the string “mirror” themselves from the mid point (i.e. you find the same notes toward the nut as you do toward the bridge) we can find the harmonics from... »

  • Cable Considerations: A Guide (and Discussion) for Bass Players

    Cable Considerations: A Guide (and Discussion) for Bass Players

    Q: Are expensive boutique cables really worth the expense? A: There are two ways we can look at this question. One is tech, the other is a combination of perception and experience. The technical explanation involves more of a scientific look at how cables work: signal purity, conductivity and so on. I’m not a technical... »

  • Bass Strings: To Change Or Not To Change

    Bass Strings: To Change Or Not To Change

    For years, bass players have debated the concept of changing strings and most people have asked the same questions: Doesn’t it change the sound of the instrument? Does the funk disappear? How can someone get good tone playing strings that are a year old? Don’t you know that (insert famous bass player) never changed his... »

  • Stage Volume: Turn Up and Play Light (and Other Considerations)

    Stage Volume: Turn Up and Play Light (and Other Considerations)

    Q: In hard rock and metal music, many players – including me – resort to playing with a heavy right hand to cut through the mix of distortion. As time goes by my right wrist starts to experience some pain and I’m thinking I should be playing lighter. Jeff Berlin and Gary Willis have been... »